LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ashley Judd sued Harvey Weinstein on Monday, saying the former movie mogul hurt her acting career in retaliation for her rejecting his sexual advances.
In the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Judd accuses Weinstein of defamation, sexual harassment and violating California’s unfair competition law.
Central to the lawsuit is director Peter Jackson saying in December that Weinstein had warned him 20 years ago that Judd was a “nightmare” to work with, and should be avoided “at all costs.” Jackson was considering Judd for a major role in his “Lord of the Rings” movies, and had met with her about the role.
About a year earlier, Weinstein — in what was supposed to be a business meeting — appeared to Judd in a bathrobe, asked her to watch him shower and to let him massage her, the suit alleges. The allegations are the same that Judd made in The New York Times in October.
Judd was in the first group of women who came forward last fall about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct and has since been among the key faces of the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein has denied trying to derail Judd’s career, and said he had no role in Jackson’s casting. An email to his attorney Ben Brafman was not immediately returned.
The lawsuit goes beyond many sexual harassment suits by invoking unfair competition law in an attempt to “shine a light on the broader economic damages caused when individuals in positions of authority attempt to punish those who have resisted their improper advances,” Judd’s attorney Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. said in a statement.
Jackson, who also said Weinstein also warned him against casting Mira Sorvino, who has also alleged she is among Weinstein’s victims. Jackson apologized for playing any unwitting role in the damage done to the women’s careers, and the lawsuit is quick to absolve him of any wrongdoing.